Bridgestone Americas Inc. plans to break ground on a three-year, $40 million expansion project at its Warren County, Tenn., truck and bus radial (TBR) tire manufacturing plant by the end of 2018.
The project will add 32,000-square-feet of manufacturing space to accommodate new equipment that will increase plant capacity by 275 tires per day, bringing daily production to 9,400 tires per day by the end of 2020.
Bridgestone continues to optimize its production operations in order to respond to changing global market trends and increased demand, according to Greg Harris, executive director, commercial manufacturing for Bridgestone Americas. “Warren County is one of the company’s most productive operations, and this investment will further improve the plant’s global competitive position by expanding production capacity for TBR tires.”
Eric Higgs, president, truck, bus and retread tires, U.S. and Canada for the Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations division, says the expansion is an important step to meet the needs of fleet customers.
“In addition to increasing capacity, this investment will improve our capability to deliver next-generation products that help make mobility more efficient,” says Higgs.
Bridgestone says the Warren County tire plant has a long history of outstanding performance and best practices in manufacturing. The facility shipped its one millionth tire in 1993, only three years after it opened. That same year, the plant produced nearly 2,500 tires per day. The plant produced its 60 millionth tire in June 2017. Expansions and upgrades contributed to additional increases in production to reach the 9,125 tires it currently produces daily.
“Our production and manufacturing capabilities continue to evolve with our products to meet the needs of our customers,” said Tamara Martensen, Warren County plant manager. “Our investment in updated equipment and improved manufacturing processes reflects our focus on maintaining our global competitiveness, our confidence in what our team can deliver, as well as our commitment to the Warren County community.”
Bridgestone says the Warren County tire plant and its employees also embody the company’s global corporate social responsibility commitment, Our Way to Serve, with initiatives in education and environmental conservation and preservation. In 2004, the plant became a certified wildlife habitat site with 680 acres devoted to providing natural areas and grasses. Community and environmental partnerships led to the creation of the Bridgestone Environmental Education Classroom and Habitat (BEECH), which now serves as an educational classroom for area students as part of Warren County Schools’ science curriculum. Since its inception, thousands of area students have visited the site to take environmental classes and experience educational nature trails.
The Warren County tire plant has earned numerous awards for its sustainability initiatives and workplace safety programs. The plant earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification in 2008, becoming the first tire plant in the world to do so. The Warren County tire plant also has been recognized as an OSHA Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star site. VPP status is awarded to companies that have comprehensive safety and health programs with injury rates below the industry’s national average.
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